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Westminster to scrap law that stops Welsh MPs voting on England-only laws

10 Jul 2021 2 minutes Read
Michael Gove. Picture by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0).

The system designed to prevent Welsh MPs from voting on England only matters is set to be scrapped next week.

A vote will be taken at Westminster on Wednesday (13 July) to abolish the EVEL (English Votes for English Laws) legislation.

The system was temporarily suspended during the pandemic but Cabinet Officer minister Michael Gove has been pushing for the permanent removal of a law that he says has ‘not served our Parliament well”.

In an interview with The Times he said: “Ultimately, it’s a convention which arose out of a set of circumstances after the 2014 referendum, where you had a coalition government and so on.

“We’ve moved on now, so I think it’s right to review where we are on it. My view is that the more we can make the House of Commons and Westminster institutions work for every part of the UK and every party in the UK, the better.”

‘West Lothian’

The law was introduced in 2015 and the issue featured prominently in the Tory election campaign as a way to tackle the ‘West Lothian’ issue, with English MPs unable to vote on devolved matters while non-English MPs could vote on England-only laws.

Former Welsh Secretary John Redwood has criticised the move saying: “Who speaks for England in the government? Why propose the end of English devolution the very weekend the government waves the English flag for the football?”

One of the criticisms of the legislation has been its complexity with primary legislation having to be ‘certified’ by the Commons Speaker according to whether it relates to:

  • England
  • England and Wales
  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The legislation links to the Barnett formula and the allocation of UK Government funds to the devolved nations. Since EVEL was introduced in 2015, the right to veto legislation has never been applied.

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Mark
Mark
3 months ago

This will be used by the English government in Westminster to argue against further devolved powers being given to Wales

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

We don’t want or need to vote on English only matters. This is just part of the ongoing plan of the OneNation jingoists to steal our devolved government. Nobody is asking for this. Any Welsh MP with good conscience should refuse to vote on issues only affecting England. We are NOT one nation. We are four. If Westminster had EVER acknowledged that fact we would all have got on better. But it didn’t. Yes Cymru, Yes Scotland, Yes Northern Ireland and indeed Yes England. The solution to the divisiveness of the Johnson zealots is not the stealing powers from the… Read more »

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Unfortunately Welsh Labour MPs will vote on England only matters because they put their party before their country

Chris
Chris
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

And Welsh Tory MPs will vote on English matters because they want to help undermine our Devo agreement, against the democratic will of the people of Cymru.
My, polarised blamestorming is fun isn’t it?.

Nick Randall-Smith
Nick Randall-Smith
3 months ago

I tend to forget that Michael Gove is a Scot. If Scotland leaves the Union would Gove loose his job?

Chris
Chris
3 months ago

We can but hope. But he’s gone completely native s Scotland won’t want him either. Depends if the Brexiteers think he’s one of the “good type” of forriner

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
3 months ago

Gove is a lawyer, so he’ll argue that Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects him against an ex postfactum prosecution for being in the [rump] UK illegally, notwithstanding the UK’s rejection of the ban on postfactum laws. Also, his consituency is Surrey Heath, so he may get a residence/employment waiver from the hostile environment policy.

Last edited 3 months ago by Hannergylch
Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

I also worry that this could have a negative effect of developing resentment in England towards us. Some English people, who may not be as politically aware as others, may start blaming and / or criticising the Welsh, Scots, N Irish for the faults of the Westminster government. I fear Mr Gove and his colleague are opening a ‘can of worms’ here.

Or is that their intention perhaps?

Last edited 3 months ago by Mr Williams
Mawkernewek
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

To be honest, those who are not very politically aware probably never realised EVEL ever existed.

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

Time for Wales to leave once and for all.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
3 months ago

Stand by for reenactment of the Wales and Berwick Act formally eliminating references to Wales and reincorporating Wales into England.

Last edited 3 months ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago

The sub-text to this is that for all Cameron’s insecurity and resentment of devolution the English are several light years away from being responsible enough voters to accept devolution within England.

In 2004 they rejected it by 78-22 in the North East and seem further away today than then.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
3 months ago

Thin end of the wedge. Welsh MPs now vote on English issues so English MPs can vote on Welsh issues. So no need for a devolved Welsh government just getting in the way or trying to block further colonisation. It will become ‘Mae Cymru ar Werth’.
We”ll be back to the same arrangement that allowed Tryweryn to happen even though all but one Welsh MPs voted against it with the other one abstaining. We gain nothing from Welsh MPs being allowed to vote on English issues but are likely to lose a lot.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Feel free to share this message because I feel it needs to be said….. The real anti-English bigots are the politicians. Whether it would be wokists on the left who cry racism every time someone flies the Cross of St George, or Conservatives who believe that we should all be exclusively British. There was a debate in the UK parliament a few years ago as to whether or not England should have its own national anthem, a debate started by a Labour MP. It was opposed by many Tory MP’s including Jacob Rees Mogg. He made it clear that if… Read more »

CapM
CapM
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

As it stands even if no MPs in Cymru Scotland and NI were Tories or backed the Tories there would still be a Tory UK government with a big majority.

I don’t think getting rid of EVEL can be an ‘anti-English policy it just looks like they realise they don’t need it and getting rid of it provides an opportunity for a government that’s the choice of the English electorate alone ruling the whole of the UK.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Reality? The 2019 General Election gave the Tories a 157 seat majority in England. If the rUK had voted 100% Monster Raving Loonie, Johnson would still hold a 40 seat majority.
We are all irrelevant and our votes count for nothing.

Alan Reilly
Alan Reilly
3 months ago

Good. As it should be. Every nation should exercise full self-determination.

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